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Philadelphia Eagles News

Head Coach Chip Kelly

Opening Remarks: "Obviously we selected Lane Johnson with the fourth pick in the draft and we're really excited. We felt he was the most athletic tackle that we had seen. We had him in, went down and worked him out privately, then had him in for a visit just a little while ago.  [He has] a huge upside. He hasn't played a ton of offensive tackle, but he has played the right side and the left side, so he does have experience at both sides. I know [Oklahoma head coach] Bob Stoops extremely well and I talked to Bob about [Lane Johnson] extensively last week. He just remarked what a tough player he is and what a selfless player that he is; he's moved positions. He wants to play. I think he is going to be a great addition to our team. The game is won up front. He's another tough, physical guy and that's what we were looking for. We went into this draft and it's an exciting thing when you can target people and get what you're looking for. It's an interesting time as a fan when you see a trade and you don't know who is going to go and if it has played itself out. I know we were excited and I know Lane is excited, so I think it's a great addition for us and it starts up front—and that's what we got."

On whether Johnson's versatility and uptempo style was a factor in the pick: "No. Obviously he ran a similar system in terms of the pace of play, but that really was not a factor in us selecting him. What really was a factor is I think you see a guy that is 6-foot-6, he's three hundred pounds and 35-inch arms. He's got an unbelievable athletic background to him. He started as a high school quarterback, was a tight end and played defensive end. I talked to Bob [Stoops]. Bob actually said they wanted to keep him at defensive end, but because of injuries, he was playing defensive end at 280 pounds and doing a great job for them. They had some injuries on the offensive line and they thought about him. His direct quote when he asked the strength coach, 'What would it take to get Lane to tackle?' He said, 'A cheeseburger and a week.' So, I think he has such an upside and that's the thing that really excites us.  I know him and [offensive line] coach [Jeff] Stoutland hit it off very well during their workouts. Obviously for us to get a tackle, football is all about winning the game up front. When you get a guy like that, you can kind of build off of that. To add to the guys that we have, it's a great fit for us."

On whether he thinks the Miami Dolphins traded up to No. 3 in the draft in case the Eagles were planning to take Oregon OLB Dion Jordan: "I don't know what Miami thinks and I don't answer hypotheticals. We had four guys and we felt comfortable with all four guys. We saw the draft the same way that the other teams saw the draft. We were one, two, three, four and it went: one, two, three, four."

On whether picking Johnson will possibly cause Todd Herremans to move positions: "I don't know depth charts or any of those other things. Let's get Lane in here and let him actually take a few reps and run around a little bit. We do know that Todd has some flexibility and that's the great thing about him, because Todd has played inside and outside. I think the other thing with Lane that is great about his flexibility is he has played the right side and he's played the left side. We're going to let them all battle it out. They're going to win the jobs out on the field, but having some more versatility makes a more versatile football team. Having him and having Todd, we obviously look at that as a positive."

On whether Johnson is ready to play in the NFL: "I think he's ready and I think he is raw. It's a draft of raw guys. Luke Joeckel is a three-year player and Ezekiel Ansah, who was taken fifth —it just seems like that's how this draft fell out. I think we look at raw as a positive, not a negative, because if [Johnson] is doing what he is doing right now and he's only played really two years on the offensive line and just transitioned from spring ball, we felt like his ceiling is the highest and that's the intriguing thing. He was probably getting a little less snaps than Eric Fisher, but when you look at his combination of athleticism and what he can do and his toughness. Is he raw? Yeah. He's a quick learner, he's a really smart kid, he's already graduated. I think he'll pick up what we're doing quickly. When you listen to people that coached him, they just rave about him. He's an unbelievable competitor. He's everything you're looking for when it comes to a football player."

On the difference in how the Eagles ranked Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson: "Honestly, we had them all together. We don't have the first three picks, so it was going to happen the way it was going to fall. We weren't going to trade. We didn't think there was anything and there was no reason to trade up. We thought there was a group of four that we really, really liked and we were going to see how the draft was going to unfold. It wasn't a situation where we had this guy over this guy."

On how much Johnson's time at the combine improved his stock: "I just think that's a part of it. It wasn't like we didn't know about him. When we were at the combine, it wasn't like, 'Oh, my God, who is that guy?' I think we knew exactly who he was and we anticipated him having that type of combine. You can just look at the numbers he had when he was at Oklahoma. Right now when they go to the combine, there are not a lot of surprises,  because you know all about the players before they get there and what the testing was like at Oklahoma. What he did for the testing at Oklahoma is what he did at the combine."

On how his athleticism will play into the "uptempo" system: "Yeah, again, I think people are confused with uptempo. We need athletic offensive linemen. It doesn't matter if you're getting in a huddle and walking up to the ball and snapping the ball with two seconds on the clock or you're snapping the ball with 10 seconds into the play clock. It has nothing to do with when you're snapping the ball; it has to do with their athletic abilities. So whether we're going to be in the huddle and go up to the line of scrimmage or we're going to be a no-huddle operation, that doesn't affect our assessment. I know teams that run no-huddle at the college level, but we're not going to take a guy just because he played in an uptempo offense. They still have to have the requisite skillset that we need for an offensive tackle and we really think he's off the charts when it comes to that."

On whether there were other positions that were strongly considered with the fourth overall pick: "We had four guys at the top, as it fell out when we looked at our board. Exactly how the draft went. They were the three [tackles] and [DE/OLB] Dion [Jordan]. That's why we felt comfortable going into this. No matter how it fell, we weren't going to be sitting there at four going, 'We didn't get our guy.' But, it was just that group of four. Even if anybody traded ahead of us I knew they couldn't pick two people, so we were still going to be okay."

On what it means when experts say that he is raw: "He has some technical things that he needs to work on. I mean, he's only played the position for two years, so obviously the little nuances of the position, hand placement, and things like that. One thing you know when you're around him and you get a chance to see Lane, he's got unbelievable work ethic. He lives and dies football. That's the one thing – part of what we want to do and bring guys into this program – we want guys that love playing football. Not what football gets them, but actually just loves playing the game. That's what this kid did. He's come from an unbelievable background in terms of not getting recruited out of high school – it was a real, real small high school – and then went to a junior college. When Oklahoma saw him and saw his athleticism, they said, 'We don't know what position you're going to be, but if you come you can just play.' He's a real selfless guy that just loves playing the game. He doesn't care if he was an offensive player, a defensive player, he didn't care if he was a tight end, a defensive end, an offensive tackle, he just wants to play."

On whether he knew about him in college and when he landed on his radar: "I was aware of him just hearing his story where you hear about a guy who's excelling in the Big 12 at offensive tackle that was a former quarterback two years earlier. That kind of catches everybody's attention. Again, I know [Oklahoma head coach] Bob [Stoops] real well and I know what he thinks of him and how much they thought he was a special player. It took him a couple years to kind of figure out where he was going to exactly fit, but I think that's a positive for us that he doesn't have that many years of experience because I think his upside is just so huge. It's not one of those deals what you see is what you get, I really think he has a very high ceiling."

On his comments last week that there aren't any "can't miss" prospects in this year's draft: "I'll stick with what I said last week."

On a player having little experience and whether that affects his timetable on when he'll be on the field: "He'll determine when he gets on the field and I've said that since whenever I've coached. We don't set the depth chart, [the players] do. We don't run a dictatorship, we don't run a democracy, we run a meritocracy. If you merit playing time, then show us in practice that you merit it, show us in preseason games that you merit it, and we'll put you on the field. He'll get the opportunity. He's going to get a ton of reps and he's going to get an opportunity to show us what he can do, but just like everybody else we're dealing with right now, they're going to merit it. I tell those guys that all the time. 'You guys set the depth chart, we don't set it. And you set it by your performance. Not because of what we think you can do, but based on your demonstration that you show us on the practice field and in the preseason games.'"

On where the team goes now moving forward in the draft: "Same thing. Our board is set. So it's just kind of where it is. As guys get taken off and as you look at it and other teams pick them, then you just kind of take them off where you are. When your pick comes around and what's on the board for you at that point in time, I know we're not going to reach and we're not going to put ourselves in a situation where we need this. I think we did a great job – [general manager] Howie [Roseman] and those guys did a great job in free agency of putting us in a position where we didn't have any holes. Where we don't have this position and regardless of what the board says, we need to go take this position. I think we're in a situation now where we're going to take, based upon what our board is when we get to the second pick, we look at it who's our highest-rated player when we get to that point in time. It could be an offensive player, it could be a defensive player. It's not that, 'Hey, we took a tackle and won, so now we have to go this way.' It's whatever is on the board at this point in time."

On whether he envisions moving back into the first round: "No, I don't envision anything."

On how deep he can go into the draft and get a quality quarterback: "I don't know."

On what his impressions are on his first NFL Draft: "Awesome."

On how he feels about the team's depth now on the offensive line: "We'll still address it. I think it's always an ongoing process, but do I feel better? Yes. Will we continue to look at guys in this draft? Yes."

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